SMARTDEER project has been developed to work with stakeholders, for stakeholders. We are leading the first nationally-coordinated initiative for deer monitoring in Ireland by collecting and analyzing empirical data across the country that will help managers to make evidence-based decisions.

Neither the up-to-date precise distribution nor the population density of the four species of deer is currently known, and no national coordination for the collection of deer data exists. Recent advancements in technology such as smartphone and desktop geospatial capabilities are underused in Ireland for wildlife, especially for deer and our project aims to close this gap by introducing tools that will allow national deer monitoring in real-time.

This survey will produce up-to-date knowledge of deer distribution across Ireland using expert stakeholder and community-based knowledge. Initially, we aim to fill data gaps from the last five years (2015-2020) by conducting a baseline survey. Once this baseline data have been collected, we will run the survey annually to track changes in deer distribution in real-time. Thank you for your participation in helping achieve this goal. 

For more information on the project and our goals please visit our website here. Thank you for participating in the survey from the SMARTDEER team, Simone Ciuti, UCD assistant professor of Wildlife Biology; Barry McMahon, UCD associate professor of Wildlife Conservation; Maarten Nieuwenhuis, UCD full professor of Forestry Virginia Morera Pujol, UCD postdoc; Kilian Murphy, Research MSc student; Sarah Keenan, Research MSc student; Charles Harper, Research Manager.

This project is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and University College Dublin. 

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Red Deer

  • Red deer antlers have a distinctive branching design which forms a curved heart-shaped appearance when viewed from the front
  • They have a reddish-brown coat in summer which turns to a dark brown-grey colour in winter
  • Some individuals may have faint white spots on their back and flanks
  • They have a distinctive creamy coloured rump patch which is not ringed by black markings
  • The tail is short and thick and extends halfway down the rump patch
  • The sound made by a red stag is distinctive, resembling the bellow of a bull

Fallow Deer

    • Fallow bucks are the only deer in Ireland to grow flattened palmate antlers
    • They have a very wide variation of coat colours, ranging from black to brown, tan, pale yellow and white, and which become much duller during the winter months
    • Some individuals of lighter colouration will have distinct white spots in summer
    • Most will have a distinctive white heart-shaped rump, outlined with a black inverted horseshoe shape and a black stripe on their tails
    • The rump outline and tail stripe will be a lighter brown for some pale coloured individuals
    • Their tails are long and extend completely across their rump patches
    • The call of a Fallow male is like a deep throated belch, often repeated for long periods oftime

Sika Deer

    • Sika deer stags have an antler design similar to but smaller than that of the red deer, which are in a V-shape with usually four forward facing points
    • They are similar to Fallow deer in coat colour, varying from pale brown through to reddish-brown with white spots in summer to dark grey and black in winter
    • There is often a distinct dark coloured dorsal stripe running the length of the back
    • There are very noticeable white hock glands on the back legs of the deer and they have a distinctive white rump
    • Sika have a shorter tail than Fallow deer, extending two-thirds down the rump patch and its black tail stripe is less distinct
    • Sika stags make a wide range of sounds, from whistles and banshee like wails to screams andgrunts
    • Both males and females make a short sharp scream ending in a grunt when alarmed

Muntjac Deer

    • Muntjac deer are a small, stocky species of deer that stand up to half a metre tall
    • Males have small antlers on top of a long fur-covered base, which are usually straight with no branching
    • They are a russet brown colour for most of the year, turning to a dull grey in winter
    • Muntjac have a ‘hunched’ appearance, as their rumps are higher than their shoulders
    • They have a wide, flat tail, which is raised to display a white underside when disturbed
    • The face of the male is striped with pronounced downward black lines and very large facial glands below the eyes
    • Females have a dark crown patch on their heads
    • Muntjac ears are distinctively oval-shaped
    • These deer produce a dog like bark at four to five second intervals, often continuously for long periods